The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed all relevant parties to stop the use of mercury in small mining operations because of its dangerous effects on human beings.
The President said the use of mercury in various industries, including small gold mines, could cause environmental damage and had a bad impact on the health of miners and people living around the mining areas.
“I’ve received a lot of information that the use of mercury in 850 mines has resulted in very dangerous pollution. It’s not only dangerous for the health of 250,000 miners, but also has an impact on the health of their families, especially children, and people in surrounding areas,” said Jokowi as quoted by Antara. He was speaking during a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office in Jakarta on Thursday afternoon.
As one of the countries that signed the Minamata Convention in Kumamoto, Japan, on Oct. 10, 2013, Jokowi said, Indonesia should not allow the use of mercury in mining to continue.
Jokowi give a seven-point instruction to all Cabinet ministers on how to handle the problem. In one point, the President asked all relevant institutions to improve the management of people’s mining and small gold mines both inside and outside of forest areas.
“The use of mercury in people’s mines must be stopped and this should be prohibited,” he said.
Jokowi also asked for the use of mercury to be tightly monitored. He called for oversight over mercury distribution because what people were using for mining was mostly imported illegally. Medical assistance must be provided to people exposed to mercury. (hol/ebf)